EVERGREEN — House District 25 Republican candidate and incumbent Tim Leonard will officially end his re-election campaign today.
Leonard, who represents several communities in Jefferson County, was first appointed to the seat in January 2016. He was re-elected in November 2016. He is being challenged by Democrat Lisa Cutter.
Leonard told Complete Colorado Tuesday by phone that his decision came after a July 3 family court ruling, in which a judge refused Leonard’s request to lower his alimony and child support payments, based on his legislative earnings.
The amounts were initially set before Leonard became a state legislator. Leonard told the courts his legislative salary cannot support the initial orders.
State representatives make $30,000 per year plus small per diems based on where they live. Leonard said his family support obligations nearly exceed his salary.
Leonard, who was divorced six years ago, has six children ranging in ages from 10 to 24. He said it saddens him that the time commitment and financial constraints prevent him from being both a single dad and a legislator.
“It really narrows the field,” Leonard said. “You can’t have citizen’s candidates anymore. It self-selects.”
Prior to running for office, Leonard was a self-employed commercial real estate development manager and did consulting work for municipalities across the state. He said that business suffered after he became a legislator because he couldn’t devote the time his clients need — even in the off months because of interim committees, other legislative duties and continual campaigning, with terms only lasting two years.
Leonard said he decided to step back from re-election now rather than later because it’s what’s best for his children and his district. He said he enjoyed the time he spent in the State House and believes he did good in the three years he served.
“Now there is a window for my replacement,” he said. “The vacancy committee can meet, and they can win in a Republican district. And my district doesn’t have to be the victim of my family’s personal situation.”
Leonard will submit his official withdrawal to the GOP and withdraw his candidacy with the Secretary of State today. The GOP will then gather a vacancy committee that will have 10 days to have an election for a replacement candidate.
It is the second time in as many weeks that the Jefferson County Republicans found themselves picking a replacement House candidate. Vicki Pyne was recently selected to replace Rep. Lang Sias in House District 27 after he was selected to run as Walker Stapleton’s Lieutenant Governor.
“I cannot be a citizen legislator and abide by the court’s ruling,” Leonard said. “I’ve got to do one or the other. The judge said he thought it was a good faith decision to become a legislator, but that it was financially imprudent.”